Integrating Psych-Ed Recommendations at School and Home

One of the most fascinating things about human beings is that everyone’s brain is different. Each person’s brain has parts that don’t work as well as others and parts that work better than others. For parents and educators, it’s important to understand our students’ strengths and needs in order to guide our instruction, showcase talents, offer appropriate accommodations and provide academic and personal support.

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Appropriately Supporting Twice Exceptional Students

Twice-exceptional is a clunky term that describes students with exceptional academic abilities who also have a learning challenge. Head of School, Stephanie Folarin, talks about how 2E students thrive in Wye River Upper School's small class sizes and through intensive one-on-one support.

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It's Not Your Imagination. Kids are Different Today.

Today’s youth face four constructs - athletics, devices, development and diversity - that adults either did not experience at all or did not experience in the same way as youth today.

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Balancing Parental Involvement and High Schooler Independence

When parents are involved in their child’s education, the child’s performance improves. Parental involvement helps children to manage their anxiety, learn how to communicate effectively, and helps them remain grounded through the ups and downs of their educational careers.

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Why Should You Attend a Prospective Family Open House?

Choosing the right school for your child can be time consuming and confusing. You’ll want to see the school, feel the community, touch the history and hear the stories before you make a decision about your child’s future. Prospective family open houses are a way to get a feel for a school.

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Creating an Equitable Environment

Discussing the "Big 8" socially constructed identities (race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion/spirituality, nationality, and socioeconomic status) can make adults as well as children uncomfortable. We lean into that discomfort at Wye River Upper School because we know that difficult conversations stretch our learning.

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Food for Thought

What you eat matters. For kids (and adults) with learning differences, ADHD, ASD, anxiety, and other challenges, it often matters even more. That’s why it’s especially important that students at Wye River are cognizant of what they put into their bodies.

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Empowering Young Adults Through a Culture of Philanthropy

Wye River Upper School students are naturally empathetic. They join our community with individual stories about how their learning differences have affected their educational experience. Their stories are what unites them and makes them compassionate towards one other. These characteristics - empathy and compassion - serve as a tool when building relationships in school, career and life. We believe these are also the attributes that build the framework for philanthropy in young adults.

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Cultivating a Growth Mindset

At Wye River Upper School, we strive to nurture and encourage the intellect, creativity, love of learning, and ambition of each of our students. We recognize that these qualities may assume different forms in different students, and we embrace and celebrate those variations within our school community.

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Continuous Improvement: Learning from Failure

High school is the last safe place to fail. This statement may sound harsh, negative, or even flippant, but it's true. The consequences of failing a quiz, test, course, or even performing poorly in a friendship are minimal in high school. Here at Wye River Upper School, we push our students to perform at the top of their skillset, knowing they will struggle. We anticipate the struggle because with the struggle comes growth.

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Creative Ways to Pay for School Tuition

Are you wondering how you can pay for tuition at an independent school like Wye River Upper School? Our school was founded on the premise that we are ALL neuro-diverse learners, meaning that we all learn differently and that’s okay. However, some students face challenges in a typical school setting and benefit from a smaller learning environment like Wye River. Typically, a more intimate setting comes at a price, often one that families struggle to afford. Rest assured that there are ways - besides financial aid - families can pay for their child’s educational investment, including 529 plans and other savings vehicles that are typically used for college purposes.

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Using Spanish in the Real World

At Wye River Upper School, we have decided to maximize our language learning time by teaching college-level foreign language classes. Meaning, when a student takes Spanish 101 in college, that course is simply a condensed version (four months) of a full year of high school Spanish (10 months). The goal of our transition from high school Spanish to college Spanish is to enable our students to engage with the Spanish-speaking world seamlessly upon graduation. Our academic program is rooted in preparing our students for the world beyond our doors. 

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Effective Communication: Giving and Receiving Feedback

Clearly communicating ideas is an art form. This summer, I had the opportunity to review our Interpersonal Communication curriculum and found many fantastic tips that can be used by anyone who is interested in becoming a better communicator.

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Managing Back to School Anxiety

It is very normal for students to have back to school anxiety, particularly following the challenging school year of 2020-2021. Some students have not been back in the classroom since 2020; others, like Wye River Upper School students, were back on a hybrid schedule in early 2021. Getting back to a fully in-person school schedule is both exciting - and worrisome - for most students. It is important for school staff and parents to reassure students that it is ok to feel anxious and to seek out someone to talk to as needed.

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Staff Summer Reading: A Fearless Edge!

The students at Wye River Upper School are currently reading books recommended by their teachers, and the staff has followed suit. I selected two summer reading books for our staff, hoping the selections would be entertaining, inspiring, and impactful. This summer, the staff has split into two groups and are reading either Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage, by Laura Huang, or The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth, by Amy C. Edmondson. I chose these nonfiction texts because I want the staff to stretch their leadership skills this year and feel empowered to be authentically themselves in the process. 

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Summer Goals: Why They are So Important for Students Who Learn Differently

As the “lazy days of summer” pass us by, some of you may be wondering, “How can I add to my summer experience in little ways that will benefit me?” This is not only a great time for Wye River Upper School students to refresh, recharge, and do all the things that they find enjoyable and are passionate about but it’s also an excellent time for anyone to try new things, set new achievable goals, and prepare for the upcoming school year.

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The Summer Slide: How to support upper school students with learning differences over the summer

After a long and tumultuous school year, our Wye River Upper School young adults have made it to summer break. I would encourage them to use this time to reflect on the past school year and plan for the future. I'm sure our students have learned some wonderful habits of independence while working within the hybrid model. Unfortunately, they have naturally lost some social skills as a result of working from home. While thinking about what worked and what didn't, as parents and guardians, we can use this time to help them organize and prepare for the new school year slowly and thoughtfully. 

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